(2219) Ardea sumatrana sumatrana.
The Dusky-grey Heron.
Ardea sumatrana Raffles, Trans. Linn. Soc., xiii, p 325 (1822) (Sumatra); Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 383.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage dark slaty-brown, the crown nearly black, the longest crest-feathers tipped white; the whole lower portion of the neck with very long lanceolate feathers white on the inner, grey on the outer, web ; some of the longer scapulars coloured the same and others tipped pale grey ; tail and primaries slaty-black; feathers of lower plumage long and lax, grey-brown in colour, paler at the tips and with pale or whitish shaft-lines ; flanks, axillaries, thighs and under tail-coverts grey ; the vent and abdomen with a brown or vinous tinge.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow to orange ; bill black, the base of the lower mandible pale yellowish; legs and feet black with pale yellow soles.
Measurements, Wing 436 to 480 mm.; tail 151 to 187 mm.; tarsus about 156 to 176 mm.; culmen about 150 to 170 mm.
Young birds. Chin, throat and upper fore-neck whitish; remainder of head and neck dull rufous, the fore-neck mottled with blackish, the sides with faint paler streaks ; upper plumage dark brown, each feather edged and tipped pale rufous; quills and tail dark brown; lower surface mottled rufous and brown with pale whitish streaks.
Distribution. Burma from Arrakan, through the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago to Australia.
Nidification. Nothing on record. Mr. T. Archer has obtained eggs of a race of this Heron in Australia apparently breeding in small colonies among reeds in vast swamps but no details have been published and I have seen no eggs.
Habits. This Heron seems to be a coastal bird over most of its range and what little has been recorded of its habits show them to differ but little from those of other large Herons. Within the limits of this work there is one record of its occurrence in "Eastern Bengal," probably Chittagong, as it is found, though rarely, in all the districts at the head of the Bay of Bengal. From these districts it occurs through Arrakan and Western Burma and thence more commonly in the Mergui district of Tenasserim. It is essentially a coastal bird, wandering up the big rivers and estuaries for some distance and very probably breeding in the Mangrove swamps along their shores. It feeds on crabs, mudfish, moliusca etc., which it finds on the mud-fiats at low tides.